LONDON, June 30 (UPI) -- Thales has been awarded a $106 million U.K. Ministry of Defense contract for Watchkeeper drone training, maintenance and support operations, the company announced.
The new future support contract builds on the previous initial support contract, Thales said in a statement.
The contract will provide technical support in the coming years while providing important additional capacity for training in order to generate operational capability.
Training support will entail the continuation of the Watchkeeper training facility, training solutions design, updates to training courses and additional instructional capacity for pilots, maintainers and support crew, Thales said.
Thales will also provide trained maintenance personnel to enhance the army's front-line engineering capacity.
Watchkeeper is the first operationally proven drone developed and built in the U.K. It provides real-time, enhanced situational awareness for troops on the ground.
It is also the first drone in U.K. aviation history to fly alongside manned aircraft in controlled civilian airspace.